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Seven Provinces

Visigothic Aquitania

The Middle Ages

English Rule

French Rule




Back to France




The original Aquitania (named after the inhabitants) at the time of Caesar's conquest of Gaul included the area bounded by the Garonne River, the Pyrenees and the Atlantic Ocean. The name may stem from Latin 'aqua', maybe derived from the town “Aquae Augustae”, “Aquae Tarbellicae” or just "Aquis" (Dax, Akize in modern Basque) or as a more general geographical feature.

Under Augustus' Roman rule, since 27 BC the province of Aquitania was further stretched to the north to the River Loire, thus including proper Gaul tribes along with old Aquitani south of the Garonne (cf. Novempopulania and Gascony) within the same region.

In 392, the Roman imperial provinces were restructured as Aquitania Prima (north-east), Aquitania Secunda (centre) and Aquitania Tertia, better known as Novempopulania in the south-west.


Early Middle Ages

Accounts of Aquitania during the Early Middle Ages are a blur, lacking precision, but there was much unrest. The Visigoths were called into Gaul as foederati, legalizing their status within the Empire. Eventually they established themselves as the de facto rulers in south-west Gaul as central Roman rule collapsed. Visigoths established their capital in Toulouse, but their tenure on Aquitaine was feeble. In 507, they were expelled south to Hispania after their defeat in the Battle of Vouillé by the Franks, who became the new rulers in the area to the south of the Loire.

The Roman Aquitania Tertia remained in place as Novempopulania, where a duke was appointed to hold a grip over the Basques (Vascones/Wascones). These dukes were quite detached from central Frankish overlordship, sometimes governing as independent rulers with strong ties to their kinsmen south of the Pyrenees. As of 660, the foundations for an independent Aquitaine/Vasconia polity were established by the duke Felix of Aquitaine, a magnate (potente(m)) from Toulouse, probably of Gallo-Roman stock. Despite its nominal submission to the Merovingians, the ethnic make-up of new realm Aquitaine wasn't Frankish, but Gallo-Roman north of the Garonne and main towns and Basque, especially south of the Garonne.

A united Basque-Aquitanian realm reached its heyday under Odo the Great's rule. In 721, the Aquitanian duke fended Umayyad troops (Sarracens) off at Toulouse, but in 732, an Umayyad expedition commanded by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi defeated Odo next to Bordeaux, and went on to loot its way up to Poitiers. Odo was required to pledge allegiance to the Frankish Charles Martel in exchange for help against the advancing Arab forces. Basque-Aquitanian self-rule temporarily came to a halt, definitely in 768 after the assassination of Waifer.

In 781,Charlemagne decided to proclaim his son Louis King of Aquitaine within the Carolingian Empire, ruling over a realm comprising the Duchy of Aquitaine and the Duchy of Vasconia. He suppressed various Basque (Gascon) uprisings, even venturing into the lands of Pamplona past the Pyrenees after ravaging Gascony, with a view to imposing his authority also in the Vasconia to south of Pyrenees. According to his biography, he achieved everything he wanted and after staying overnight in Pamplona, on his way back his army was attacked in Roncevaux in 812, but narrowly escaped an engagement at the Pyrenean passes.

Seguin (Sihiminus), count of Bordeaux and Duke of Vasconia, seemed to have attempted a detachment from the Frankish central authority on Charlemagne's death. The new emperor Louis the Pious reacted by removing him from his capacity, which stirred the Basques into rebellion. The king in turn sent his troops to the territory, obtaining their submission in two campaigns and killing the duke, while his family crossed the Pyrenees and continued to foment risings against Frankish power. In 824, the 2nd Battle of Roncevaux took place, in which counts Aeblus and Aznar, Frankish vassals from the Duchy of Vasconia sent by the new King of Aquitaine, Pepin, were captured by the joint forces of Iñigo Arista and the Banu Qasi.

Before Pepin's death, emperor Louis had appointed a new king in 832, his son Charles the Bald, while the Aquitanian lords elected Pepin II as king. This struggle for control of the kingdom led to a constant period of war between Charles, loyal to his father and the Carolingian power, and Pepin II, who relied more on the support of Basque and Aquitanian lords.


Aquitaine after the Treaty of Verdun[

After the 843 Treaty of Verdun, the defeat of Pepin II and the death of Charles the Bald, the Kingdom of Aquitaine (subsumed in West Francia) ceased to have any relevance and the title of King of Aquitaine took on a nominal value. In 1058, the Duchy of Vasconia (Gascony) and Aquitaine merged under the rule of William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine.

The title "Duke of Aquitaine" was held by the counts of Poitiers from the 10th to the 12th century.

Aquitaine passed to France in 1137 when the duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII of France, but their marriage was annulled in 1152. When Eleanor's new husband became King Henry II of England in 1154, the area became an English possession, and a cornerstone of the Angevin Empire. Aquitaine remained English until the end of the Hundred Years' War in 1453, when it was annexed by France. (Wikipedia)




Vienne / The Seven Provinces

Roman Conquest

Publius Crassus, the young  lieutenant of Julius César, conquered Aquitaine in 56 B.C.


The pax romana

Under the Roman Empire, the name Aquitaine applies to a large south-west of Gaul, from the Pyrenees to the banks of the Loire, including Auvergne. Saintes and Bordeaux were the successive capitals of Aquitaine. Gaul finally split into three (Aquitaine Prima Aquitaine Secunda and Novempopulania) under the Tetrarchy, on the occasion of the fiscal and administrative reforms carried out by Diocletian (284). The Romanization of Novempopulanie would lead to Gascony.



The diocese was established during the reforms of Diocletian who reigned from 284-305. It is attested early in the reign of Constantine I in the Verona List which has been dated to around 314. In 402 an annual provincial assembly, the Concilium septem provinciarum, was established in Arles. In 407, the Vandals and their allies invaded Gaul, devastating the region until they departed for the Iberian peninsula in 409. The Visigoths were brought in as foederati to aid the Romans against them, and in 418 emperor Honorius allowed them to settle in Aquitania around Toulouse. Although nominally Roman subjects, the Goths were practically independent, a fact which was formally recognized by the Western Empire in 475, just one year before its end. In 462 Ricimer ceded them also the province of Narbonensis Prima, while the Goths proceeded to occupy the remaining provinces east of the Rhone in 477. Henceforth, the lands that had comprised the diocese of the Seven Provinces became part of the Visigothic Kingdom. Aquitania was soon lost to the Franks (507), with only the southern coastal strip (Septimania) retained by the Goths.




From Roman Aquitania many sarcophages are preserved of fine craftmanship some of which show a christogram surrounded by a crown or a wreath of laurel, symbol of martial victory, and sometimes between two piles. These, we think, were the badges of office of military officials, probably the duces  or rectores provinciæ of the former roman provinces.


Aquitania I


Victorius, the Visigothic dux conquered all Aquitania I and turned embattled Clermont into his residence.


 Notre Dame Cathedral, Rodez

XP-cypher within a crown of laurel


Aquitania II


We hear also of Visigothic duces in Bordeaux, the capital of Aquitania II. Aquitania II was also originally  part of the old ducatus north and south of the Loire.


Sarcophage in the crypt of St. Seurin church, Bordeaux

XP-cypher within a crown of laurel, a lime-tree within a circular bordure on the lid


Sarcophage in the Musée d’Aquitaine, Bordeaux

XP-cypher within a bordure on the coffin and the lid


Sarcophage in the crypt of St. Seurin church, Bordeaux

XP-cypher on the lid




Sarcophage of St Vincent

XP-cypher within a crown of laurel

When discovered in 1785 it was covered with a lid and it  contained  bones, ceremonial vestments and a large lead medal




Narbonensis I



Sarcophage of  St. Pierre monastery, Moissac

XP-cypher within a knotted headband,  a lime-tree on the lid


Reused as a tomb for abbot Raymond de Montpezat, who died in 1245.


Visigothic Rule



Mosaic with chalice, 5th-6th century

From Bordeaux, France

Musée d’Aquitaine, Bordeaux


In the 5th-6th century Bordeaux was a part of the Visigothic Kingdom.

As the chalice was an emblem of a castrensis the mosaic is probably from his office in Bordeaux. No indication of his rank in the form of supporters is added.


Visigothic weapons were found on the Catalan Fields near Troyes (451AD). They are a part of the Pouan Treasury nowadays.


More: Trésor de Pouan


Visigothic warriors of some rank bore pairs of eagles of a special visigothic fashion on their cloaks. Both christograms and eagles are also known from the remaining part of the Visigothic kingdom in Spain after the battle of Vouillé.

Visigothic eagles from Castelsagrat (Tarn & Garonne, Aquit.) 6th cent.

Bronze, cloisonné, 13.5´6.65 cm

Musée de Cluny, Paris


The Middle Ages


Aquitaine and the Franks


In 507, Clovis, invited by the bisshops of  Novempopulanie, incorporated it into the kingdom of the Franks, defeating Alaric II, king of the  Wisigoths, at the batle of  Vouillé.


The need to combine several endangered border districts and place them under one military command remained unchanged throughout the centuries. In this way the dux provinciae took the place of a comes who commanded larger units. In other words, out of the function of the late antique and barbarian dux developed the rank and function of that dux who became the predecessor of the early medieval duke. But how tenaciaously this office clung to its roots is revealed by the fact that dux and comes remained interchangeable and that right up to the beginning of the High Middle Ages every dux was in principle also a comes. In the fifth century the connection is visible in that one and the same person could exercise both functions, since a dux provinciæ administrated his sphere of authority from a civitas whose comes he was.


Merovingian Kings of Aquitania









Desiderius, jointly with Bladast


Bladast, jointly with Desiderius








Chlothar II


Charibert II







Duchy of Aquitaine





Felix (floruit 660s) was a patrician in the Frankish kingdom under the Merovingians. He had his seat at Toulouse. According to the tenth-century Miracula sancti Martialis lemovicensis, Felix was "a noble and renowned patrician from the town of Toulouse, who had obtained authority over all the cities up to the Pyrenees and over the iniquitous people of the Wascones," that is, the Basques. Felix is probably the first ruler of the Duchy of Aquitaine that evolved from the old kingdom of Charibert II in the decades following his death (632) and Dagobert I's subjection of the Basques. Although he stands at the head of the list of semi-independent rulers of Aquitaine that extends through the Middle Ages, he is described as "mysterious" and "obscure".

Felix was probably a supporter of Chlothar III and his majordomo, Ebroin. His patriciate corresponds to the years when Chlothar's appointee, Erembert, was bishop of Toulouse. After Chlothar's death (673), Erembert retired and Chlothar's brother, Childeric II, took over the throne and deposed Ebroin. At this time, a certain Lupus, whom the Miracula describes as "coming to" Felix,  presided over a regional synod at Bordeaux, though Felix was still in power in Aquitaine at that time. This synod was held under Childeric II, indicating continued Frankish sovereignty or suzerainty over Aquitaine and Gasconyat that time, but a subsequent break with the Merovingians appears to have occurred following Childeric's death in 675. Lupus is often considered a protégé of Felix, to whom the latter delegated Gascony, and who eventually succeeded him over all Aquitaine. On the other hand, he was an opponent Ebroin, and so may have been an enemy of Felix who usurped authority in Gascony. Later Lupus had control over southern Aquitaine and was trying to assert it in the north when he died.



1st independen ruler Lupus I


Odo the Great his reign commenced perhaps as late as 692, 700, or 715, unclear parentage


Hunald I son of Odo the Great, abdicated to a monastery


Waifer, son of Hunald I


Waiofar, also spelled Waifar, Waifer or Waiffre (†768), was the last independent Duke of Aquitaine from 745 to 768. He peacefully succeeded his father, Hunald I, after the latter entered a monastery. He also inherited the conflict with the rising Carolingian family and its leader, Pepin the Short, who was king of the Franks after 751 and thus Waiofar's nominal suzerain.



Hunald II  probably son of Waifer


Lupo II Duke of Gascony

opposed Charlemagne's rule and Hunald's relatives


Karolingian Kings of Aquitainia



Louis the Pious,king of the Franks

Emperor of the West  814-840 son of  Charlemagne



William of 'Aquitania, called Saint Guilhem, at te same time Duke of Aquitaniae



Pepin I * 803-Poitiers † 838,

King of Aquitania 


2nd son of Louis the Pious and Ermengarde. He ruled Aquitania already when receiving the royal title in 817. He revolted several times with his brother against his father  (830,831,833).



Seal N°19 (835)

Æ 4,5 cm



 1st term Pépin II the Young


Aquitaine after the Treaty of Verdun[

After the 843 Treaty of Verdun, the defeat of Pepin II and the death of Charles the Bald, the Kingdom of Aquitaine (subsumed in West Francia) ceased to have any relevance and the title of King of Aquitaine took on a nominal value.



2nd term Pépin II the Young



Charles said to be a  son of Charles te Bald



Louis II the Stammerer, brother of preceding



Carloman II, son of preceding





No special kings of Aquitania but kings of the Franks who called themselve sometimes kings of the Franks and the Aquitanians. It seems that Ramnulf II,son of Ramnulf Ier de Poitiers, count of Poitou an grfand son of the king of Aquitania, Pippim of Aquitania was a pretender of the throne of Aquitania  in 888-889 after the death of Charles the Fat.


House of Auvergne



William I, the Pious



House of  Razès




William II, the Young






House of Poitiers 



The title “Duke of Aquitaine” was held by the counts of Poitiers from the 10th to the 12th century.


Ebalus the Bastard



William III, the Fair



William IV, the Swanker



Louis III



future king of France as Louis V the Sluggard, son of king Lothair.


William V, le Grand



William VI, the Fat






William VII, the Brave



William VIII



In 1058, the Duchy of Vasconia (Gascony) and Aquitaine merged under the rule of William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine.


William IX, le Troubadour

*1071.10.22 -†1126.02.10

Duke of Aquitania, count of Poitou 1086-1126

¥ Phillipie de Toulouse 1094

count of Toulouse 1094-1099

Count of Toulouse (2nd term) 1113-


William IX was barely fifteen years old when his father died. He soon found himself confronted with the wishes of autonomy of his vassals. Eble de Chatelaillon seized half of the island of Oléron which belonged to the Abbey of the Trinity of Vendome without the Duke being able to oppose it. Boson Count of the March, William Taillefer Count of Angouleme and Hugues de Lusignan were not characters who allowed an opportunity to increase their power. The Lord's wars resumed, therefore, more beautifully. Boson de la Marche attacked William Taillefer and came to put the seat before Confolens, Boson was killed during an offensive. Immediately, a struggle for the succession of Boson on the March, his uncle Eudes entered into conflict with Hugues Lusignan who is his nephew by his mother. Eudes then allied himself with William d'Angouleme, the former enemy. At Parthenay, Guelduin had to make concessions to his younger brother Ebbon, who was even assassinated in 1093, Aimery IV de Thouars. To restore order William IX invaded the region of Parthenay, drove out Ebbon and entrusted the fortress of Germond to Guelduin. A year later, Ebbon took the fortress of Germond and had his brother murdered. However, William IX recognized Ebbon as Lord of Parthenay.

William IX married Ernengarde d'Anjou, the daughter of Foulques le Réchin, in the first marriage, and this marriage guaranteed him peace on his northern frontier. But soon he divorced, causing the discontent of the Count of Anjou. But the latter, who was then excommunicated, could not act. Ermengarde then married the Duke of Brittany.

In 1088, a Frenchman, Urban II, became Pope in particular thanks to the support of the Abbot Geoffroy de Vendome. The Pope demanded, without success, from William IX that he should restore the Island of Oléron to the Abbey of Vendome. The affair was not settled until the end of 1096, after threats and excommunication of Eble de Chatellaillon, and will be confirmed at the Council of Saintes in March 1097. The Abbey takes possession of the island.

Also in 1088, William IX married  Philippie of Toulouse, widow of Sancho Ramirez King of Aragon, thus obtaining rights on the County of Toulouse. He made these in 1097, invaded the County and seized Toulouse where he established his wife as Countess. There, in 1099, their son, the future William X, was born.


In December 1099, during the consecration of the Chaize church in Thouars, William IX announced that he was taking the cross and to find the money yielded the County of Toulouse to Bertrand de Saint-Gilles, a cousin of his wife. In March 1101 William left for Palestine with an army of thirty thousand men. He joined the other Crusaders and everyone is in front of Byzantium (Constantinople). The crossing of Asia Minor is a catastrophe, the armies of the Crusaders are massacred by the Turks. William IX is one of the few survivors and in Easter 1102 he is in Jerusalem. In the autumn he returned to Aquitaine, on 29 October 1102 he was in Poitiers.


His wife Philippia assured the administration of the County with Hugues, the brother of William IX, and the Seneschals Eudes de Mauzé and Hugues de Doué. In 1104 William assists the Count of Anjou Foulques the Réchin confronted with the revolt of his eldest son Geoffroy Martel the Younger. The latter, assisted by the Earl of Maine, took castles from his father, and on 28 August 1104, he first seized Thouars, which he burned, and then de Niort and Beauvoir. William IX positions his army against that of Geoffroy Martel, the negotiations engaged make it possible to reconcile the Count of Anjou and his son. In 1106 Geoffroy Martel died, doubtless assassinated, at the siege of Candé. Fulques, the son of Bertrade, became the heir of Anjou. William IX abuses his confidence and holds him some time prisoner to negotiate the surrender of castles in the region of Mirebeau. These fortresses represented a threat to the defense of Poitiers.

Hugh of Lusignan had despoiled the Abbey of Saint Maixent and his son Hugues le Brun refused to restore usurped property. In 1110 William IX was obliged to make war against Hugues le Brun, who received the support of the Sire de Parthenay and the new Comte d'Anjou Fulk the Younger. William was wounded before Taillebourg, and a truce was established between the belligerents.

In 1113 the Seigneurs of Toulouse invoked him against their new Earl, Alphons-Jourdain. William seizes Toulouse where Philippie returns to take his position of Countess. At the same time William is in conflict with the Bishop of Poitiers Peter II, who accuses him of over-taxing the religious communities and excommunicating him. William arrested Peter II and locked him in the castle of Chauvigny where he died soon after.


It was at this time that William met Amauberge de l'Ile Bouchard (nicknamed the Dangerous), the wife of Vicomte Aimery I of Chatellerault. The Vicomtesse leaves her husband and lives ostensibly with William, who is excommunicated. It is from her that comes the name of the Maubergon Tower at Poitiers. The wife of William, Philippi, retired in 1116 to the Abbey of Fontevraud to Robert of Arbrissel, she dies there on 28 November 1118. She had seven children with William, including two sons, William and Raymond.

In 1118 William went back to war against the Sires of Lusignan and Parthenay, defeated them and captured Simon de Parthenay. He crosses again to assist the King of Aragon Alphonse the Battler who fights against the Almoravids. William wins on them the battle of Cutunda on 18 May 1120.

In 1121 the Bishop of Clermont, who was driven out of his city by the Count of Auvergne, appealed to King Louis VI over the head of William IX. The Count of Auvergne submits, this intrusion of the King of France into the Aquitaine estates is a setback for William.

In 1122, with the help of the Vicomte de Narbonne and the Count of Barcelona, ​​he tried to regain control of the County of Toulouse without success. At the same time he always has to do with recalcitrant vassals. The Sire de Parthenay refuses to pay the right of redemption on the death of his father Simon; the heir of the Duke, William, must take the castle of Parthenay to subdue the rebellious lord. Then Count Vulgrin of Angouleme moved, William IX died on February 10, 1126 while his army seized Blaye. He is buried in the Abbey of Montierneuf in Poitiers.

His eldest son William succeeded him, his second son Raymond became Prince of Antioch. One of his daughters, Agnes, first married Vicomte Aimery V of Thouars and then in second marriage the King of Aragon Ramire II.


William IX has especially remained in posterity as the promoter of a new civilization, that of troubadours and courtly love. He was very cultivated and intellectually dominated his contemporaries. He also knew how to take distance of himself and to relativize religious affairs. His relations with the Bishops were not good in general and he was excommunicated several times.


Having gained rights over Toulouse by his wife Phillippie, he claimed them by force by taking Toulouse in 1098. William le Troubadour joined the first crusade led by Godefroy de Bouillon after the fall of Jerusalem in March 1101. He remained A year and a half in the East, to fight most often in Anatolia, where he was severely beaten twice.

He took possession of the church's property in 1113 to finance his campaign against Toulouse, and abandoned his wife Phillipie for the wife of his vassal, the Viscount de Chatellerault. The acts earned him excommunication. He nevertheless married his son William to the daughter of his mistress in 1121.

At the end of his life, he participated in an episode of the Reconquista: Allied with the King of Castile and Leon, Alphonse the Battler, who had married his sister Beatrice. From 1120 to 1123 they waged for the conquest of the kingdom of Valencia, winning in particular the battle of Cutenda.



1171 Birth

1097 Entry in Toulouse


A black knight fighting another in St. Savin


The Church of Saint-Savin dates mainly from the end of the 11th century, but some parts - including the transept with wings, square tower, and the crypts of St. Martin and of the Saints Savin and Cyprian - are even older.


1099 Birth of his son William le Toulousan

1099.07.15 capture of  Jerusalem

1099-12-06 Willem IX takes the cross. (leaves for the Holy Land)

1101-09-5.The army  of Willem IX destroyed at Taurus.

1102-10-29 Return from the East

1108 Louis the Fat, king of France

1115 Excommunicated

1120.05.18 Victory at Cutenda togeteher with Alphonso of Aragon

1121 Loss of Toulouse

1122 Birth of Aliénore of Aquitania

1126.02.10. †


Wedding on a capital

in the church of Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais in  Civaux (Dept. Vienne). 11th-12th cent

(Not of  Willian and Philippie)


Baptistère St. Jean de Poitou.

Fresco from about 1100, named: MAVRICIVS.


Standing warrior with a three-pointed pennon and a red shield with a pointed shield buckle. The fresco, apparently painted over, provides little guidance for analysis, other than the color of the shield.

William IX de Troubadour may have been proposed in the second instance.

Mauricius  was a warrior saint adopted as a patron of the imperial party. His coat of arms was Gules, a cross  Argent.


1099-12-06 William IX takes the cross. (leaves for the Holy Land)

1101-09-5.The army  of Willem IX destroyed at Taurus.

1102-10-29 Return from the East


In March 1101 William left for Palestine with an army of thirty thousand men. He joins the other crusaders and everyone finds himself in front of Byzantium (Constantinople). The crossing of Asia Minor is a disaster, the armies of the Crusaders are massacred by the Turks. William IX is one of the few survivors and at Easter 1102 he is in Jerusalem. In the fall he returned to Aquitaine, on October 29, 1102 he was in Poitiers.


Foto H.d.V.08.2004

In the church of St. Martialis in Limoges, a warrior is depicted in armor with a pointed and lambrequined helmet. On his arm a Norman shield with a cross bottony that is halfway between a Greek and a Latin cross.


(Limoges, Musée Municipal de l´Evêché, coll. Lapidaire).





The origin of the Abbey of St Martial finds its roots in the crypt of St Martial. Probably dug in the 4th this crypt was then covered by an oratory served by clerics of the Cathedral like St Loup. The pilgrims becoming more and more numerous, it was necessary to raise, probably in the 11th, the primitive basilica of Saint Pierre-du-Sépulcre, of more than one hundred meters long and twenty meters wide, on the basilica of the Savior. Finally this abbey was made up of a group of churches, buildings and courtyards enclosed in a wall. The Council of Limoges of 1031, making Martial an apostle, definitively ensured the abbey as a place of pilgrimage of Christendom, in addition with Saint Jacques de Compostelle and Saint Jean d'Angely. In the 11th century, the abbey became an intellectual center respected throughout Christianity. The richness of its library was such that it was placed in second row, just after that of Cluny. Thanks to the trade generated by the many pilgrims who passed by, many goldsmiths specialized in the creation of reliquaries and enamels with "champleves" have prospered over time.


St. Savin sur Gartemps, Crypte  1100 ca. [1]


Represented is Ladicius, consul of Amphipolis orating and Savinus and his brother

Ladicius is vested as a duke in a blue dalmatica and a red mantle and has a ducal cap on his head


Such a garment would fit William IX.


Savin is Spanish, originally from Barcelona. He probably lived in the early 5th century. After having received a brilliant education, he left his family and his country to go to the parents he had in Gaul, in Poitou. He becomes the tutor of his cousin, the young Gomellus, whom he awakens to faith. Both enter the monastery of Saint Martin de Ligugé. Savin stayed there for almost three years then chose solitude in the Pyrenees, at Pouey-Aspé (1h30 walk from the current village of Saint-Savin). He lived there as a hermit for thirteen years, a rough and austere life, enamelled with many miracles, with the only abode being a pit dug in a rock.

In 458 Savin and his brother Cyprien lived in Amphipolis, whose inhabitants ignored Christ, the two brothers spread the truth. Consul Ladicius had them thrown into the furnace, but the flames, turning against him, consumed him with one hundred and sixty gentiles. Maximus, his successor, delivered the two saints to the animals and they licked their feet. The following night, in their prison, an angel ordered them to go to Gaul and the walls of the dungeon parted to let them out. This is how Savin and Cyprien arrived at the edge of the Gartempe, before the place where it flows into the Creuse. Maximus, who was chasing them from Amphipolis, seized them at a place called Cerisier and had Savin's head cut off. Devotees buried his body near a chapel that the Vandals had already devastated.


Maximus, Savinus and Ciprian in the same crypt.

The main figure again vested in a ducal garment.


1102 Return from the Holy Land


Beginning of the Book Judges. Second Bible of  St. Martialis,

Limo­ges, Paris Bibl. Nat., Ms. lat. 8, Vol. I. fol. 91. Beginng 12th cent. (Cahn, 1982, 127)


On the dexter some warriors and a bishop and On the altar: Tab(er)naculum foederis d(omi)ni (Sanctuary of the society of the Lord)

On the scroll: dixitq: dns Iudas ascendet adbellum. (= Judges 2)


In the middle: Christ

On the altar: Tab(er)naculum foederis d(omi)ni (Sanctuary of the society of the Lord)


On the sinister a standing warrior in armoury with a shield

Above the warrior with shield: Iudas.


Arms: 1. Gules, within a circle a lion passant Argent; 2. Sable, within a cricle a lon passant reversed Argent; 3. Gules, within a cricle an eight-petalled flower Argent; 4. Gules a fish erect Argent. All within a bordure Or and with decorations Argent.


Below is the beginning of the Book Judges:


1 After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Canaanites?” 2 The Lord answered, “Judah shall go up; I have given the land into their hands.” 3 The men of Judah then said to the Simeonites their fellow Israelites, “Come up with us into the territory allotted to us, to fight against the Canaanites. We in turn will go with you into yours.” So the Simeonites went with them..

It is certainly of importance that the manuscript comes from Limoges, which is located in the middle of the Duchy of Aquitaine. Therefore, an Aquitan duke might have been proposed, for example William IX, the Troubadour. He is certainly eligible as a client. It is not yet clear whether the passage refers to his career. If William IX himself is not depicted, for example as Duke of Aquitaine and Gascony, Count of Poitou and Auvergne, it is still easy to see how the bearig of arms was during his life: the symbols of the command (the lion) are still inside circles as also on the tunic of Halberstadt and the depiction in the St. Baafs Cathedral (remnants of the twelfth century church in the crypt, rest of the 16th century). This way of affixing symbols to official clothing remained in use for a very long time. It can also be seen, for example, on the tunic of Frederick II on his seal from 1216 and later on the clothes of the Byzantine despots and co-emperors. It can also be seen that the symbols were originally included in the total decoration of the shield, just like on the clothing. Something like that can also be seen on the shield of Bouchrd de Guise from 1155 on which there is an eagle in a medallion and the rest of the shield is occupied by a fretté (bars) and an asymmetrical decoration.


The same way is also used on a coat of arms with an eagle in chief and crossbars underneath in a manuscript from Saxony. Here, however, the eagle is free in the chief.


In conclusion, it can be stated:

1. The warrior represents William IX, the Troubadour of Aquitaine.

2. The shield contains the symbols of:

a. Aquitaine, a white lion on a red field. This lion can later be found in the coat of arms of Aquitaine / Guienne: Red, a golden lion passant guardant.

b.: a lion passant on a black field. Later Poitou's coat of arms was: White, a red lion and a black bordure charged with besants.

c. Toulouse: A rose. As on a sarcophage of the 5th century. (1094-1099 & 1113-1121)

d. A dolphin can be found in the Roman coat of arms of Toulouse and in some arms of former Gallia Narbonensis.


The option that a lion was the symbol of the Duke of Aquitaine remains open when one sees the depicted coat of arms in a twelfth-century manuscript. Here the shield is blue and the lion is white.

(Pline, Histoire Naturelle. Le Mans, Biblioth. Municipale. Ms 263 f ° 10.) but these are  presumably the arms of the count of Anjou.


1115 Excommunicated

1115 Birth of Raymond of Poitou

1120.05.18 Victory at Cutenda tigether with Alphonso of Aragon

1121 Loss of Toulouse

1122 Birth of Aliénore of Aquitaine

Pline, Histoire naturelle,

Illustrated Manuscript from the middle of the 12th century from France by an english artist

Le Mans, Bibl. mun., ms. 263, f. 10v


Hanging on the wall a shield  Azure, a lion Argent, a helmet and a lance with a three pointed pennon:  a saltire between four besants. charged with a rose within a circle. On the lower register the knight (duke) armed with a sword and a red shield, and a spear with the same pennon.


Reconstruction of pennon


* This could depict an episode from the last years of the life of William writing [his memoirs ?]. The king to whom he is presenting the manuscript looks like Lothar II, Roman King from 1125 until 1133. No other kings, like the kings of England or France had a long beard at the time.

That the manuscript was illuminated by an english artist in Le Mans can be explained by the fact that the daughter of William, Eleonore, was married in 1152 to Henry Plantagenet, then duke of Normandy and in 1154 king of England. He became count of Anjou in 1156. As such, William the Troubadour was his (deceased) father in law.


1123 Died


William X, le Toulousain




Melle (Poitou-Charente), Eglise St. Hilaire (1109-’50)


Rider with headscarf, probably a crusader. This could have been Willian IX when returning from the Holy Land. But also William X when on pilgrimage in 1137. Melle is about 60 km south-west from Poitiers on the road to Santiago de Compostela.


William X of Poitiers, known as the Toulousain or the Saint, was born in Toulouse in 1099 and is the last of the Counts of Poitiers of the Ramnulfides dynasty.

He reigned from 1126 to 1137 under the name of William VIII, Count of Poitiers and Duke of Aquitaine under the name of William X. He was the son of William the Troubadour, to whom he succeeded, and Philippe, daughter of the Count of Toulouse William IV.

He allied himself with Geoffroy the Fair Count of Anjou against Normandy. With peace on his northern border, he had on the other hand  to fight a longtime in the south to constrain his vassal of Aunis, Isembert of Châtelaillon.

Badly inspired, he supported, with the legate Girard d'Angoulême, the anti-pope Anaclet II (1130-‘38) for five years, from 1130 until an interview with Bernard de Clairvaux at the castle of Parthenay.

He died on 9 April (Good Friday 1137) during a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. He prayed in his last wishes, the King of France, Louis VI the Gros, to consent to the marriage of his son Louis to his eldest daughter, Alienor of Aquitaine.



*1122 - †1204

Duchess of Aquitania 1137

 ¥ 1 Louis VII de France 1137-1152

¥ 2 Henry II Plantagenet 1152-1189


With Eleonore, Aquitaine became the most important property of the House of Poitiers. She held court in the manner of when she was queen of France. Henry II Plantagenet reorganized the duchy according to the norman model. Philip August wanted to give the duchy to Aymeri van Thouars after the conviction of John Lackland, but only captured a few parts. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the duchy was reduced to south west, which was French.


Aquitaine passed to France in 1137 when the duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII of France, but their marriage was annulled in 1152.


Donor Portrait of Eleanor at a young age

Psalter of Eleonore of Aquitaine KB. Den Haag, Ms 76 F.13, fol.  128  (1185 ca)


Seal of majesty and equestrian Seal of Louis VII,  duke of Aquitaine 1141

Arms: NN.



Foto H.d.V. 2015

Alienor of Aquitaine, Louis VII and two ladies in waiting

Église Notre Dame la Grande, Poitiers, westfront


English Rule



When Eleanor's new husband became King Henry II of England in 1154, the area became an English possession, and a cornerstone of the Angevin Empire. Aquitaine remained English until the end of the Hundred Years' War in 1453, when it was annexed by France.


Foto H.d.V. 2011

Henry the Younger and Eleanore riding

Fresco in St. Radegonde Chapel, Chinon.


Eleanore is dressed in a purple garment strewn with what look like christograms.



To be seen on the fresco are Henry II in a green tunic and a yellow cloak lined with vair, a crown on his head. Characteristic is his short red beard. Behind him are his wife Eleonore of Aquitaine (* 1122- † 1204); his eldest son Henry (* 1155- † 1183) crowned co-king in 1170, with crown and in a yellow tunic and green matle lined vair, Richard (* 1157- † 1199); and Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany (* 1158- † 1186).

Since Henry jr. is crowned, the fresco must date from after 1170. In early 1174, after plotting with Henry Jr. and Richard against her husband, Eleonore was imprisoned in Chinon and then taken to Winchester where she spent almost ten years in captivity. The fresco will therefore have been made before or in 1173. In 1173 Henry II was 40 years old, Eleonore 53, Henry Jr. 18, Richard 16 and Geoffrey 15. These ages correspond to the ages of the persons depicted. John, who was of the age of six in 1173, is not represented.


House of  Plantagenet


Richard Coeur de Lion



Richard Coeur de Lion introduced the famous coat of arms Gules, three lions passant, granted by Emperor Henry VI.


Otto, duke of Brunswick


                        Regent 1196-1198


Otto was elected  a Roman King in 1198 Æ Otto IV


*Arthur I

 Duke of Brittanny 1187-1203

Duke of  Aquitaine 1199-1203

Count of Anjou 1199-1203


Seal of ArthurI,  1199 - 1202


Arms.: Nil.


D.: 1199 & 1202 (Douët d'Arcq n°s 532-533).




 2nd term 1199-1204

Otto, duke of Brunswick Regent 1199


Drawing of the seal and counterseal of Eleonore of Aquitaine

with the next captures :
Bibl. nat. de France, coll. Clairambault
© Cliché bibliothèque nationale de France


The queen crowned  and with a sceptre and an orb crested with an eagle sejant. Æ See also Sceptre


Foto H.d.V. 2015

Tomb of  Eleonore of Aquitaine in the Royal abbey of Fontevraud.


John Lackland



Seal of John Lackland

the obverse for England, the reverse for the French possessions including Aquitaine.


From Sandford, Francis: A Genealogical History of the Kings of England and Monarchs of Great Britain. 1677.


Henry III


¥ 1236 Eleonore of Provence 1223-1291 


The duchy of Aquitaine was called the duchy of Guyenne after the treaty of Paris of 12 April 1229 between Louis IX the Saint and Raymond VII count of Toulouse who ceded the largest part of the Languedoc to France and in this way ended the albigense conflict.


During the rule of Henry III his wife Eleonore of Provence bore the title of  Duchess of Aquitaine (together with the titles of queen of England, Duchess of Normandy, countess of Anjou. and Lady of Ireland).

On her seal  occurs a single lion passant guardant. On the reverse are the arms of England.


From: Sandford, Francis: A Genealogical History of the Kings of England and Monarchs of Great Britain. 1677. pp. 50 & 57



Edward I




Guyenne is a popular corruption of the word Aquitaine which passed through the stage “Aguiaine” in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the initial "A" disappearing little by little. Guyenne is the form that was by far the most used and the most popular by local people from the 13th to the 18th century. Aquitaine appeared as a more archaic and more cultivated term.


Homage of Edward I of England (kneeling) to Philip IV (1385-1314) of France (seated),

by Jean Fouquet (~1420-1481).


The clothes of Edward red and strewn with lions passant Or which were the emblems for Aquitaine in the time of Jean Fouquet.


As Duke of Aquitaine, Edward was a vassal to the French king


During the reign of Edward I the arms Gules a lion guardant passant Or was borne by:


1273 Walford´s Roll C130: Hugh Bigot, gules un leon passant d'or. Cl91: Hugh Bigot, de gule a un leun d'or passant.  Cd101: Hue Bigot, de gules a lion passant or.

Justiciar of England 1258-´60 and Lord warden of Cinque Ports 1259-´60


John of Dampierre

Heraldic seal: Arms: A crowned lion passant guardant


Vredius 1642 p. 94 n° 1.




Armorial Wijnbergen nr. 1001 .... Gules a lion passant guardant Or. (fig 56)

[according to Adam-Even: Laval ancien. Gui VII & VIII Montmor­en­cy (Ile de France) Lord Laval (Bretagne) bore  (BA242 & CP36 & WB 936&1019): Or, a cross gules charged with 5 shells Arent between 15 eagles Azure.]


But the relationship of these officers to Aquitaine is not (yet) known.


Edward II



Edward III



In 1329, King Edward III of England paid tribute for Aquitaine to Philippe VI de Valois3. The rivalry between the crowns of France and England led to the Hundred Years War in 1337. On May 8, 1360, during the Treaty of Brétigny France lost Aquitaine (Guyenne, Gascogne, Quercy, Rouergue, Limousin and Poitou) , Ponthieu and Calais for the benefit of the English. Most of it was recaptured, with the exception of Guyenne, by Du Guesclin in the 1370s and 1380s


In 1337 Philip VI declared the fief canceled, but in 1340 Edward proclaimed himself King of France. In 1360, at the peace of Bretigny and the Treaty of Calais, Eduard renounced his claim to the French throne in exchange for all of Aquitaine. Under a treaty of 1375, Eduard only remained Bordeaux, Calais, Bayonne and Brest


(Hugues (†1386) - dep. 1351. C. de Stafford. D’or au chevron de gu. C.: une tête de canard becqué de gu. dans un vol; une couronne de gu.; capeline d’or. L.: Die grave v. Staffoert. Gelre n° 572  Toison, p. 130: Or, a chevron gules).


14th century 100 years´ war warriors



Henry of Lancaster, lieutenant and captain of Aquitaine 1345-1347

Duc de Lancaster, from the Bruges Garter Book (1430) by William Bruges. The arms on his tabard appear to be erroneous, being the arms first adopted by King Edward III and not his paternal arms of Plantagenet with a label of France for difference, being the arms of their common ancestor King Henry III.


After his return the Order of the Garter was founded (1348)





Ralph de Stafford 2nd Baron, was created Earl of Stafford 5 march 1351 & constituted lieutenant & captain general of the Duchy of Aquitaine. Seals of the Office of Seneschal or Lieutenant of Aquitaine and of the Court of Gascony: Exchequer Class of Accounts Various E 101/180/1/23 & 28.

Arms: Or, a chevron Gules



Edward Black Prince




Æ See: Wales, Princes of Wales  


Seal of Edward Black Prince


From: Sandford, Francis: A Genealogical History of the Kings of England and Monarchs of Great Britain. 1677.302





Armorial Bellenville (France)



Arms: Gules, a lion passant guardant Or.

L.: Hte vā gasscõyen.

Gelre fol. 46 n°  315 (France).


John of Gaunt

1340- 1399

Earl of Richmond 1342

Duke of Lancaster 1362

Tit. King of Castile 1385-1388

Duke of Aquitaine 1390-1397


a. 1/4 of France (anc.) & England and a label of 3 ermine.

b. Gelre fol 56v: die ht v lãcaster: 1/4 France anc & England.

c. 1/4 of France (anc.) & England a label of 3 ermine and an escutche­on in fess point 1/4 of Castile and Leon.

d. PP. of Spain and 1/4 of France (anc.) & England with a label of 3 ermine.


As a King of Castile he (John of Gaunt) impaled this coat (¼ France (anc.) & England; over all a label of three points ermine) with the quartered arms of Castile and Leon, and after the surrender of that kingdom, impaled the same with the arms of his first wife Blanche of Lancaster (&c. Wagner, 1939/'72 no 41).

Seal of John of Gaunt [2]


Arms: 1/4 of France (anc) & England, a label ermine of three

Crest: A ducal hat a crowned lion passant guardant labelled ermine of three

Supporters: Two pelicans in their piety


Louis I Dauphin



Equestrian Seal

Arms:  ¼ of France and Dauphiné

Crest Fleur de lis

Capture: s ludovici pgeniti francorum reg duc aquitane dalphini viennen. (Vredius 1642 p. 122 n° 1.)


Counterseal Arms: Idem. Supporter:Angel seated  behind the shield. (Vredius 1642 p. 122 n° 2)


Æ See also: Dauphiné - 1400


Henry V


Prince of Wales and Duke of Aquitaine 1400-1422


Arms: Quarterly of France modern and England


Henry VI



Bergshammer nr. 1734


Arms: Gules a lion passant guardant Or..

Caption: aquitaēne duc.


Gules, a lion passant guardant Or (Toison p. 82)


From: Armorial de l'Europe et de la Toison d'or


French rule



The French victory at the Battle of Castillon marked the reconquest of Bordeaux in 1453

Under Charles VII (1422-1461) of France Gascony as well as Aquitaine was incorporated into the kingdom of France in its entirety in 1453. The corresponding portion within Spain became part of the Basque Kingdom of Navarre.





Duc de Berri 1461

Duc de Normandie 1465 - 1469

Duc de Guyenne 1469 - 1472


Louis XI gave the duchy in prerogative to his brother Charles de Valois in 1469. It returned definitively to the crown on his death in 1472.



3. ¼  of Berri and Aquitaine


In 1474 verviel de titel


Arms of  Guienne /Aquitaine, 1483-1498  [3]


Arms: ¼ of France and Or a lion passant guardant Gules.

Caption: Guinenne


After the death of Charles VIII the arms were reduced to the original lion passant guardant

1500 Arms: Lion passant guardant

 Caption: Guyenne.

(Compendium Roberti Gaguini super Francorum gestis: ab ipso recognitum & auctum. Paris, 1500. Frontispiece.


Ducque de guiana

Livro do Almeiro Mor, 1509. (37)



1550 W.: Lion rampant. L.: Aquitania. (Sebastian v. Münster p. cxxiii)


1581 W.: Lion. L.: Aquitania. [Der schildt blaw/der Löw roth.] (Martin Schrot p. 185).


From: Recueil des armoiries de premiers et anciens pairs. Paris, 1634


On a map of France,1721


Arms: Gules, a lion passant guardant Or.

L.: Guienne


In 1789-‘90 France was divided in départements and the provinces were abolished

In its session of 19 June 1790, the Constituent Assembly decreed the suppression of the coats of arms and at the same time it decided the abolition of the nobility, titles, fiefs, orders of chivalry, liveries, etc. By a summary judgment, a coat of arms was assimilated to "signs of feudalism" and therefore were also abolished. A great iconoclasm was the result and many heraldic monuments as well as the royal regalia were destroyed or defaced, causing much irreparable historical loss. In spite of its restoration at the beginning of the 19th century, heraldry could never find in France the place which was hers until the end of the 18th century. And yet, in France as in neighboring countries, heraldry is found everywhere, on all the objects, monuments and documents that the past has transmitted to us. Nowadays there is a great renaissance of official heraldry of institutions.

Initially much of its functions were taken over by symbols from a repertory of allegories and political devices. These were usuallu placed on seals




Departments: Empire and 3rd Republic


From left to right and from top to bottom


Charente; Charente Maritime; Corrèze; Dordogne; Haute Garonne; Gironde; Landes; Lot; Lot et Garonne; Sèvres;  Hautes Pyrenées; Basses Pyrenées; Tarn; Tarn et Garonne; Vienne.


From: Encyclopedie Bouasse-Lebel. Armoiries des Departements.


4th Republic


Crowned arms of Aquitaine / Guyenne and capitals of the departements

 by Maurice Jacquet, 1950-1970 ca



5th Republic


Region Aquitaine 1982-2015


The Région Aquitaine was created by the Decentralization Acts (Gaston Deferre Laws) of 2 March 1982.

Approved 2012







Région Nouvelle Aquitaine 2015-present





The region was created by the territorial reform of French Regions in 2014 through the merger of three regions: Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes The new region was established on 1 January 2016, following the regional elections in December 2015.


Adopted 16.12.2016


















Sleeve patch


Arms: Gules, a lion passant guardant Or, langued and unguled Azure

It recalls either the geographic attachment of the unit (the coat of arms of the province, the city, the chief town) or the origins or its missions symbolized by charges (pieces or figures). There is a separate shield per region, thus materializing the territorial establishment of the gendarmes of the legion, it constitutes a sign of recognition between the gendasrmes but especially a sign of proximity with the inhabitants.


They were approved on 12 July 1968 (approval number G 2179)




In 1152, by the marriage of Aliénor with Henri II Plantagenêt, count of Anjou and duke of Normandy, the duchy of Aquitaine and that of Gascogne were united to the Plantagenêt empire which included England, Normandy, and Anjou-Maine-Touraine. In reality, there was not much left of the Gascony of Sancho II Sancho of Vasconia (†864), itself already small compared to Novempopulania by its reduction by the creation of the County of Comminges (10th century) including the Couserans. The successive divisions between the descendants of the Courbé saw the creation of a mosaic of independent lordships which recognized or not, the sovereignty of the dukes according to the circumstances and the alliances of the moment. The history of united Gascony as a political territory ends there, but not the history of medieval Gascony.[4].You could say that at the political level, there are "Gascognes". But the main division will be that between a western Gascony, located around Bordeaux, Dax and Bayonne, united to England (until 1451/1453) and an eastern Gascony, located around the counties of Armagnac, Foix-Bearn and Bigorre, being pro-French during the Hundred Years War.


The present blasoning of the coat of arms of Gascogne is “Quarterly, 1 & 4: Azure a lion Argent; 2&3 Gules a garb Or  tied together Azure.


The coat of arms of Gascony is certainly the archetype of coats of arms created ex nihilo, in a way totally disconnected from history. Indeed, they were allotted even before of the constitution of the General Armorial (1696-1710), for a province which if it still existed, and still exists, on the cultural level, did not have any more a unitary political reality since its dismantling of 1063. Indeed, the Duchy of Gascony, which roughly occupied the southern part of Aquitaine, having disappeared as a political entity, no historical coat of arms existed, on the contrary quite obviously of the dozen of provinces, seigneuries or main countries born from its dismantling

Without reappearing on the political level in the strict sense, it was not until the beginning of the 18th century, that an almost unitary Gascony was reborn on an administrative level with the creation of the Generality of Auch in 1716 under the royal coat of arms.


Nevertheless some coats of arms for Gascogne were designed in the course of time. The first, as we have seen, around the end of the fourteeth century when Gascogne had been captured by Charles V and therefore was in fact French Aquitaine. This was identical with the English coat of arms of Aquitaine of the golden lion on a red shield.  The second arms were created in time of Charles VIII (1483-1498) and were probably of a quarterly of the royal arms and the arms of Aquitaine. The next coat of arms from the Louis XIV era (1643-1715) were inspired on the coat of arms of the Armagnac familiy which was a quarterly of Argent, lions Gules and Gules, lions Or.

Much later the Gules, lions Or were changed for a  Gules, a garb Or, tied Azure.

At about the same time the lions Gules were changed by the French heraldist Robert Louis for Azure, lions Argent. This is the version which is usually used.



Bernard VII d'Armagnac (†1418)

Comte d'Armagnac et de Fezensac

Connétable de France (1415)

From: Armorial de Gilles Le Bouvier

Armagnac (1483-’89)

From: Traités de blason», XVe s. [BNF Ms Fr 14357]

Unclear quarterly: 1&4 Azure strewn with fleur de lys Or or Azure a lion Argent?

Achievement for Gascogne, 1650


Arms: Quarterly Argent a lion Gules and Gules a lion Argent

Supporters: two amors

Caption: Gascogne






On a Map of France, 1721

On a postcard, ~ 1954


Embellished arms of Gascogne

4h Republic (Robert Louis ca 1953)


The same


Apart from the lords and lordships in Gascogne which had coats of arms there was a single official for all of Gascogne which had a heraldic emblem of ancient origin. This official was the archbishop of Auch who had the status of Primate of Gascogne. The first having this status was Archbishop Airardus in 879. As a metropolitan see by the 9th century Auch had ten suffragan sees: Acqs (Dax),; Aire; Lectoure; Couserans; Oloron, Lescar, Bayonne; Bazas; Comminges; Tarbes.


Generally the emblem of rank of a metropolitan bishop was a griffin which was borrowed from the roman duches or officials of the second rank having the jurisdiction in a Roman province as Novem Populana was one. Such a griffin has not yet been found in Auch itself as the Auch cathedral was restructured in the 16th century. Griffins  however are known from Oloron cathedral from one of the suffragan sees of Auch. [5] In the roman portal of that cathedral is an achievement of a bearded man supported by two griffins which could be the bishop of Oloron supported by the metropolitan archbishop of Auch. In any case this achievement symbolizes that Oloron belongs to the archdiocese of Auch. [6]


Sinister smaller tympan on Oloron Cathedral

The tympan is dated around the second decennium of the 12th century


Another emblem of a christian warrior is the christogram which can be found on top of the central pillar of the tympan below the biblical scene of the descent from the Cross.


Christogram ensigned with the cow’s head of Bearn


On the other (dexter) tympan is what can be a Saint within a mandorla, perhaps St John as his gospels are recited in the sculptures on the upper tympan:

John 19 25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, [a] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

John 19 38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.[a] 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.


Knight on horseback trampling an enemy


Moreover there is a knight on horseback standing on the right side of the arch in a St. George pose trampling an enemy. This might be a lord of Bearn, for example a viscount from the House of Gabarret.



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 © Hubert de Vries  2020-04-14





[1] https://inventaire.poitou-charentes.fr/operations/vallee-de-la-gartempe/310-decouvertes/830-les-peintures-de-la-vallee-des-fresques-la-crypte-de-l-eglise-de-saint-savin

[2] http://katherineroetswynford.blogspot.com/2017/02/(and on his tomb. F.-D. fig. 897; Wagner, 1939/'72 no. 41).

[3] «Traités de blason», XVe s. [BNF Ms Fr 14357] -- ark:/12148/btv1b53023942t -- Armes du Christ; Clément Prinsault, Traité; Armorial Table Ronde; Traité (animaux). -- f°1: Le roi Charles VIII

[4] The princapal  lordships or provinces coming into exisence on the ruins of the duchy are the counties of Comminges, Bigorre, Armagnac, Fézensac, Astarac, Couserans, and the viscounties of  Béarn, Dax, Tursan, Lomagne, Marsan  and of Albret. See also: http://www.heraldique.org/2011/07/provinces-de-france-gascogne.html

[5] Some other griffins and a christogram on a coffin from Jaca, from 714-1091 belonging to Auch. See: https://m.arteguias.com/monasterio/monasteriobenedictinasjaca.htm.

[6] https://nl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Cathedrale_Sainte-Marie_Oloron_portail.jpg

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